Top United synagogues look abroad for their ministers

It seems a spell overseas can be a career boost


Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue’s appointment of British-born Rabbi Daniel Friedman follows a pattern. It is the third time in succession the congregation has recruited a new leader from outside the United Synagogue.

Like HGS, another large US community, Finchley, opted a few years ago for a British-born senior rabbi who had come from overseas. Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence had led congregations in New Zealand and Australia before taking the pulpit at Kinloss.

In days gone by, the odds were that at least one of these two posts would have gone to a rabbi from within the ranks of the US. Now it seems a spell abroad is good for a rabbi’s career.

A number of promising young British ministers have left these shores in recent years. Rabbi Anthony Knopf, associate rabbi at HGS, went to South Africa and is now in Canada. Rabbi James Proops, previously assistant rabbi at Mill Hill, has moved to California.

US president Michael Goldstein believes the organisation has done well with its cohort of young rabbis. Its challenge now is to groom them sufficiently to secure top United Synagogue jobs in future.


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